John Gilbert


Joined DOT in 1955 - Joined DOC in 1969 - Retired in 1991. One of the founders of this website. Un des fondateurs de ce site web.

S'est joint au MDT en 1955 - S'est joint au MDC en 1969 - A pris sa retraite en 1991. Un des fondateurs de ce site web.





John Gilbert joined the Department of Transport (DOT) in December 1955 and transferred to the Department of Communications (DOC) in the spring of 1969.


Here are the highlights of his career in DOC:


Chief of Manpower Planning, DOC

Participated in the Telecommission Study of Multidisciplinary Manpower Needs in the field of telecommunications.



staff member, Policy Sector, DOC

Managed projects aimed at bringing improved communications to Northern Canada, with particular emphasis on user needs.



Director, Industry Structure and Services, Spectrum and Radio Systems Policy, DOC

Developed public policy on telecommunications industry structure and managed a program of public consultation on the future use of the radio frequency spectrum, including domestic preparations for the 1979 General WARC. This included the preparations of Canada's policy on the use of the UHF spectrum and the allocation of cellular radio spectrum. Directed the preparation of Canada's spectrum policies for the use of the 12/14 and 7/8 GHz frequency bands.



Director of International Arrangements and Deputy Director General International Relations Branch, DOC

Chaired the preparatory committees and attended international meetings concerning Canada's obligations in international telecommunications organizations and on the allocation of spectrum and orbital satellite positions.


Led the Canadian delegation to the 1982 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.



Executive Secretary, Independent Commission on World-Wide Telecommunications Development (Maitland Commission)

Managed the work of the Independent Commission and organized the Commission's meetings in several locations around the world including Arusha, Tanzania and Bali, Indonesia then headed the Canadian delegation to the World Telecommunications Development Conference in Arusha, Tanzania in May, 1985. 



Regional Director, Central Region

Managed the Central Region of the Department of Communications, including spectrum management functions for the three Prairie Provinces and the Northwest Territories. Then returned to the International Branch as Director, Multilateral to head the Canadian delegation to the 1987 ITU Mobile World Administrative Radio Conference (WARC '87). This conference established allocations for the radio frequency spectrum in the mobile and mobile satellite services.



Director General, Government Telecommunications Agency (GTA).

Managed the GTA (then Canada's largest private telecommunications network) and led a Task Force to establish new network architecture functions for the Agency. Managed the Department of Communications' information technology and telecommunications standards activities. Chaired the Canadian National Organization (CNO) for the CCIR - the body then responsible for the formulation of Canada's international positions on radio and related spectrum matters.


He retired in the spring of 1991.



John Gilbert’s bio


John Gilbert (VE3BOH) was raised in the UK and Germany and landed in Canada on Guy Fawkes Day in November 1953.


He was a Radio Operator Learner at Resolute Bay (VFR4) from late Mar.’56 to mid-Aug.’56 including one month in Eureka as an emergency replacement. He went back to Eureka (CHS20) in August 1956 on the icebreaker D’Iberville and remained there until April 23,1958, operating as VE8OW. After Eureka he went to Radio College and then worked on the Radio Range station at Crumlin (now London,ON). He then went into avionics as a radio technician with the Aircraft Radio Workshop, DOT, first in Ottawa and then in Toronto while getting his degree (part-time) in Political Science.


He joined the Department of Communications when it was established in 1969 and worked in communications and spectrum policy, international arrangements and the Government Telecommunications Agency. In 1984 he had the best job ever as Executive Secretary of the World Wide Commission on Telecommunications Development (Maitland Commission) traveling three times around the world in that year. He retired as Director General of GTA in 1991. He became active again in amateur radio, as VE3CXL, in the mid- 70s and also held the call FP0GNS (St. Pierre and Miquelon). In retirement he ran a small consultancy specializing in communications and IT policy work related to developing countries. A brush with the Grim Reaper in 2007 put an end to his working career. He lives in Ottawa where he potters around with histories of telecommunications and the Arctic and is a member of the nominating committee for Canada’s Telecom Hall of Fame.


Links   -   Liens


1957 - Eureka (On top of the world)


1959 - Radio College of Canada Code Class


Some notes on Coral Harbour


1975 - Arctic Visit to announce the new Northern Communications Policy


1978 - Canadian delegation at CCIR Kyoto


1979 - Comings-Goings-Transfers-Appointments - Department of Communications (DOC)


1979  -  Spectrum allocations: making of a policy

1979  -  Autres consultations nécessaires sur l'attribution des fréquences


Department of Communications – Pacific Region - Annual Regional Workshop - June 24-26. 1981


1983 - ITU Administrative Council


1984 - John Gilbert on special assignment


1985 - Comings-Goings-Transfers-Appointments - Department of Communications (DOC)


1988 - Employee appointed to Standards Council (J. Gilbert)


John Gilbert's Photo Collection


2012 Special Meeting of the Kelowna Chapter


A History of Resolute Bay Ionospheric Station


Department of Communications (DOC) Early Days


Notes on the Bill Beaton Collection of Radio Licences


A Galery of Friends - Une galerie d'amis


Wireless Innovators in the Early Years of the St. Roch
An article written by a friend of the Vancouver Maritime Museum, John Gilbert